The proverbial "fear of public speaking" is, according to some, more pervasive than the fear of falling, the fear of flying, the fear of closed places, the fear of snakes, even the fear of death. It has caused the stifling of many a budding corporate career and, in extreme cases, made us physically ill. Can the beast that creates all of this havoc in our lives be controlled? Can we manage the fear of public speaking? In a word, "YES". Not only can it be controlled, it can be turned to our advantage! Like most things, however, there's bad news and there's good news. The bad news is that the fear never completely goes away. The good news, though, is that the fear never completely goes away. This is not an attempt at wordplay. It's actually a very good thing because when you learn to intentionally use this "fear energy," you will be sharp, more in control, more dynamic, and a far more persuasive communicator.
What is Fear?
In short, fear is the body's response to impending danger, pain, evil, etcetera, whether those things are real or imagined. In the case of public speaking, danger, pain, evil, etcetera is highly unlikely... so what is it that we're afraid of and what can we do about it? Well according to what we've been told over our 25 years the big thing is public embarrassment. We desperately do not want to "look bad" in front of others. And of the myriad things that we are told that we can do to ameliorate this fear, the big one is to have what we call a "conversational familiarity" with your material. When you "know your stuff," your stuff is easy to tell people about.
Now obviously there is a lot more involved in giving a persuasive presentation. But as far as controlling your fear of public speaking, this one thing carries a lot of weight.
Next time, more on The Fear of Public Speaking